Florida Cops Keep Innocent Man in Jail for Eight Months

Joshua Brown

The Fort Lauderdale police department got it wrong when they arrested the wrong man.

Thinking he was a burglary suspect.

But the Florida police department still kept him in jail for eight months for the crime he did not commit.

Dmitry Lyubimov was not released until authorities finally acknowledged that they lacked physical and DNA evidence.

Now the city has reached a wrongful arrest settlement of $150,000 with the 26-year-old man.

Lyubimov was minding his own business on the streets of Fort Lauderdale when he was arrested by police in July 2011, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Police claimed Lyubimov matched the description of the real suspect, Justin White. Both are pictured above with Lyubimov on the left.

A 911 call was made because White was walking on someone’s property with a gun. Officers Jesus Gonzalez and Felicia Barnwell responded to the scene and tried to stop White, who then fled on a stolen scooter.

White ditched his scooter, then hopped over a fence, leaving only his hat behind.

As the officers searched the streets for him, they came across Lyubimov, who was dressed in similar attire, mistaking him for White, and arresting him.

Lyubimov denied the allegations. And his phone records even showed that he was on the phone with his girlfriend during the police chase.

But authorities did not buy it.

“So with cops still chasing me I am dialing my girlfriend and talking to her for 25 min instead of thinking how to escape police,” he wrote while in jail in 2011.

“It don’t make no sense. I am just frustrated with all this. It all is like a bad dream or [something]. OK, hopefully it will end soon,”

The scooter that the real suspect had left behind was tested for fingerprints days after the incident, but they did not match Lyubimov’s fingerprints.

It was not until seven months after Lyubimov’s arrest that a DNA examination on the hat White left behind proved that Lyubimov was not the man who fled from them.

Lyubimov’s attorney Hugh Koerner had this to say:

“It’s their self-assuredness and their refusal to believe that they could be wrong that failed them. They have a responsibility not just to apprehend criminals, but to protect the innocent.”

Lyubimov filed suit swiftly after being released from jail. The $150,000 settlement was reached this week.

Even Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Dean Trantalis weighed in saying, “I think this is a terrible tragedy that was perpetrated on this individual [Dmitry Lyubimov], because of their incomplete investigation and their refusal to recognize basic facts.”


Citizen Journalism